Press Release


IPG's Black Employee Network to Host Star-Studded National Event In Honor of Black History Month

February 21, 2013 at 10:39 AM EST

Panel Discussion Moderated by Soledad O'Brien, CNN Award-Winning Anchor

New York, NY - February 21, 2013 - In honor of Black History Month, Interpublic Group's Black Employee Network (BEN), one of the company's business resource groups (BRGs), hosted a panel discussion, "Black in Advertising & America: Old Challenges and New Opportunities." The event took place on Tuesday, February 19 at the Time Inc. Building in New York.  Soledad O'Brien, Anchor and Special Correspondent, CNN and author of The Next Big Story, moderated the celebrity panel.  Two authors and two IPG advertising executives discussed the challenges and opportunities for Blacks in the advertising industry and in America generally, and how those challenges and opportunities compare.

The two-part panel began with authors Leonard E. Burnett, Jr., co-author of Black is the New Green: Marketing to the Affluent African American and Tanner Colby, author of Some of My Best Friends Are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America. The conversation continued with advertising executives Vann Graves, EVP, Executive Creative Director, McCann Worldgroup and Vita Harris, Global Chief Strategy Officer, Draftfcb.

The program was webcast nationally to seven cities and included remarks by IPG EVP, Chief Strategy and Talent Officer, Philippe Krakowsky.  Attendees included IPG employees and multicultural influencers.

"Interpublic's Black Employee Network hosts a number of educational, thought-provoking events throughout the year," commented Heide Gardner, SVP, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Interpublic.  "Our Business Resource Groups are part of a comprehensive, systemic program at IPG that encourages a workplace that is as inclusive as possible.  We are especially excited about this event that features an exciting combination of IPG talent, authors and an award-winning anchor. The topic is both relevant and timely - the challenges and opportunities of African Americans in Advertising and America."

About IPG Diversity + Inclusion MERGE Program

MERGE (Multicultural Resource Groups for Excellence) is the company-wide employee resource group within IPG. Under the MERGE umbrella, there are national and local MERGE Councils and Business Resource Groups (BRGs). IPG employees created cross agency business resource groups to foster an inclusive work environment as well as to increase networking and business opportunities. These include the Asian Heritage Group (AHG), Black Employee Network (BEN), the IPG Gay Lesbian Bi-Sexual, Transgender and Allies (IPGLBT), Hispanic/Latino Heritage Group (SOMOS) and the Women's Leadership Network (WLN). 


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About Interpublic

Interpublic is one of the world's leading organizations of advertising agencies and marketing services companies.  Major global brands include Draftfcb, FutureBrand, GolinHarris International, Huge, Initiative, Jack Morton Worldwide, Lowe and Partners, MAGNAGLOBAL, McCann, Momentum, MRM Worldwide, Octagon, R/GA, UM and Weber Shandwick.  Leading domestic brands include Campbell Ewald; Campbell Mithun; Carmichael Lynch; Deutsch, a Lowe and Partners Company; Gotham Inc.; Hill Holliday; ID Media; Mullen and The Martin Agency.  For more information, please visit

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Contact Information

Jemma Gould


(212) 704-1326